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King rules over London Raiders

11:56 17 January 2016

London Raiders could not find a way past Invicta goalie Damien King as they fell to a sixth straight loss (pic: John Scott)

London Raiders could not find a way past Invicta goalie Damien King as they fell to a sixth straight loss (pic: John Scott)

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National League: London Raiders 0 Invicta 3

London Raiders’ difficult start to 2016 continued as they lost to Invicta at the Lee Valley Ice Centre last night.

Eriks Ozollapa, Adam McNicoll and former Raider Joshua Condren found the back of the net for the Dynamos and both teams missed penalty shots as Raiders fell to a sixth successive defeat in league and cup play since their 10-4 success against Streatham on December 19.

Raiders were quickly down a man in the first period as Mason Webster was sent to the penalty box for slashing, just 73 seconds into the match.

But the home side’s penalty-killing unit held firm as they used their bodies and sticks to block dangerous shots and passes from Invicta.

The visitors nearly got on the scoreboard in the first few minutes, as Ozollapa failed to collect a pass that would have given him a breakaway attempt, but then he gathered it in and sent the puck across the ice, where it was banged into the goal.

But the officials ruled offside and the match remained scoreless, with Raiders given a chance to show off their powerplay skills in the seventh minute as Invicta’s Steven Osman was whistled for tripping.

London got off a few shots after a weak start to the man advantage, but failed to find a way past Damien King and Invicta had the best chances for the rest of the period.

Raiders debutant goalie Ryan Bainborough made two stellar saves on point-blank shots from Ozollapa, before Slovakian import Marek Nahlik was penalised for tripping Condren in the 13th minute.

Condren, at the centre of a controversial incident in the last meeting between the clubs that saw Liam Chong earn a suspension, stayed down on the ice to earn the scorn of the Raiders faithful once again.

And Invicta made the most of their powerplay, as McNicoll sent the puck rattling off the crossbar and into the goal to give them the lead.

Condren rubbed salt into the wounds as he added a second goal at 16.24 and just half a minute later he was taken down from behind on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot.

However, as Condren skated in on Bainborough looking to make the score line 3-0, he slipped and couldn’t get a shot off, much to the delight of the home side.

Dynamos had yet another chance just seconds from the end of the period, but Rob Jenner, making his 250th appearance for the Raiders, knocked the puck away from the goal in mid-air with his stick.

Down 2-0 heading into the second period, the Raiders had an early opportunity as two Invicta men were sent to the box in succession, giving the Raiders 1:46 of 5-on-3.

But Invicta nearly scored a shorthanded goal as Jenner’s pass along the blue line couldn’t be controlled and Invicta had a breakaway that Bainborough did well to save.

Raiders rushed back up the ice and had several solid chances, but still could not find that elusive goal.

Bainborough produced yet another spectacular save, as he sprawled to his right, rolled across the goalmouth, and then dove onto the puck to his left.

But Invicta finally found their third goal after a bit of bad luck for the Raiders, as one of their men slipped gathering in the puck in the defensive zone.

Damian Welch immediately took possession, sent it on to Condren and then Ozollapa scored from in front of the net.

Nahlik had two shots denied in the middle of the period, and the two teams got into a scrum in the 38th minute, after Invicta failed to force home the puck following a scramble in front of the net.

At the start of the third, Bainborough had to deny another shot from right in front of the net, but for most of the period it was the Raiders who had the chances, as shot after shot just failed to sneak through King’s defences.

Bailey Chittock was given the best chance of the evening for London after he was awarded a penalty shot with 1:22 remaining, but his shot whistled wide and the Raiders were kept off the scoreboard as King celebrated a 39-shot shutout.

Raiders will try to snap their losing streak tonight as they play eighth-placed Solent away (7pm), having won 3-1 in their last meeting at the Gosport Ice Rink.

Scorers, Dynamos: Eriks Ozollapa* 1+2 Josh Condren 1+1 Adam McNicoll 1 Steven Fisher 0+2 Arran Strawson 0+1.

Penalty minutes: Raiders 16 Invicta 16.

Shots faced: Ryan Bainborough (L) 14-10-7=31-3 Damien King (I) 10-12-17=39-0.

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